MANILA, Philippines - Two members of the House of Representatives on Sunday called for a reorientation of local government unit (LGU) officials on their roles during crisis situations following the bloody outcome of the Rizal park hostage taking incident.
The proposal came in the wake of Manila Vice Mayor Francisco "Isko" Moreno’s admission before a probe body that he and Mayor Alfredo Lim left the command post in Rizal Park at the most crucial stage of the August 23 hostage crisis.
Moreover, Moreno said he was not aware of the structure, specific functions, and composition of a local crisis management committee (CMC).
House Deputy Speaker Ma. Isabelle Climaco said a reorientation will enable LGU officials to be adept and decisive at any hostage crisis and other similar situation in the future.
“There is a need for our local officials to first review everything about the local CMC including its primary mandate, composition and individual task of its members to ensure coordinated action in order to minimize danger to life, health and property from a crisis caused by human activity or natural disaster,” said Climaco.
Climaco said the reorientation should be done immediately to ensure their preparedness and efficiency.
“The statements and admissions made by Vice Mayor Isko Moreno before members of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee provides a more compelling reason to conduct a reorientation of our local officials now about the role and functions of the local CMC.”
Moreno, the vice chairman of the Manila local CMC said he abandoned the command center after knowing that Mayor Alfredo Lim already left.
He also admitted that he did not know the “by the book” process of how the CMC operated.
Asked by Interior and Local Government Secretary if he was aware that protocol calls for members of the CMC to be at the command post during the progress of the incident, Moreno said no.
Camiguin Representative Pedro Romualdo said a reorientation about the importance of the CMC will gauge the level of awareness and preparedness of local officials in dealing with any crisis in their areas of responsibility.
“Crisis management is part of effective governance and in keeping local peace and security. We should arm our local officials primarily with all the necessary knowledge to guide them on how to deal effectively with any crisis.”
Romualdo said if members of the local CMC are clear about their individual tasks and their overall objective, orderly operations and responses can be expected.
“A reorientation will likewise determine what else should be done to help our local officials address a crisis situation,” said Romualdo.